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Average Debt Rises in Early 2018, but Student Debt Dips

Oct. 3, 2018
Credit Card Data, Credit Cards
Average Debt Rises in Mid-2018, but Student Loan Balances Dip
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Average household debt increased slightly in the second quarter of 2018, with both mortgage and credit card debt increasing, according to NerdWallet research. However, student loan and auto loan debt both decreased.

Households with any type of debt took on an additional $338 in debt in the quarter, and credit card balances went up by an average of $50. However, student loan debt per household went down by more than 1%, or $575.

Average balance for households with each type of debt:

Q1 2018 Q2 2018 Change
Credit cards $15,432 $15,482 0.32%
Mortgages $179,575 $181,176 0.89%
Auto loans $27,701 $27,669 –0.12%
Student loans $47,525 $46,950 –1.21%
Any type of debt $133,720 $134,058 0.25%


“The uptick in household debt shows that Americans are still relying on debt to finance their expenses, which strains household budgets,” says Kimberly Palmer, NerdWallet’s credit card expert.

“While student loan and auto loan debt dipped slightly, the overall trend has been for household debt to continue to increase,” Palmer says. “Households looking to pay down their debt should focus on putting additional payments toward their highest interest rate debt first, since that’s the most expensive.”

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